Kitchen Confidential

The heart of the home can be both serene and functional

For Elisa, kitchens epitomize the dualism of home design: a kitchen must achieve total functionality as well as complete serenity—characteristics that threaten to conflict if not expertly balanced. As such, Elisa considers kitchens successful when they meet the needs of the people who occupy them, while simultaneously providing them with a refuge from the hustle and bustle of their busy lives. “It’s a puzzle,” she says. “You are trying to take all of these pieces from a client and put them together in perfect union.” She designs homes—and specifically, kitchens—as harbors from the hectic world, and therefore the following “trends”—compiled for a feature on The Scout Guide—speak less of implementing new styles and more of responsively listening to individual living patterns.

Forget kids gloves

Some may shy away from using marble in a kitchen built for four young kids. Not Elisa: she finds beauty in the texture that accumulates with high traffic. Gone is the gloss of its original polished finish; now the island feels honed, like those found in historic villas in Italy. Far from finicky, the countertops tell the family’s story: of the red wine spilled by the father only months after moving in—the rose stain that seeped into the porous surface now only a memory shared with laughter (and praise of Comet); of the countless evenings spent making fresh pasta; of the kids hunching over their homework atop the island stools. Every element of this kitchen has proved to be user friendly, particularly the MVP marble.

Embrace color

To enliven a jewel-box guest cabin, Elisa applied pops of buoyant blue, including painting all of the custom cabinetry in the kitchen. Small spaces require multifunctional elements; everything must have a purpose. Color softens such functionality, introducing a refreshing brightness into quaint quarters, all while maintaining the calm of clean lines.

Let there be light

To breathe new life into a century-old homestead cabin (and its subsequent log addition), Elisa insisted on adding more light, even when the architect thought it impossible. By cutting the pair of panoramic panes and the portal above the backsplash, the kitchen now feels airy and expansive, a modern aesthetic underscored by the exquisite treatments used throughout, from the blackened steel hood to the walnut cabinetry and Taj Mahal quartzite slab island (topped by a bison-hide bowl). Historic and contemporary can coexist.

Timeless as trend

A mahogany-and-stone-clad kitchen still feels as sleek and new as when it was originally designed a decade ago. When Elisa thinks about trends, she often rests on what endures: functionality and serenity. No matter the style, a kitchen fulfills its purpose when it allows for effortless gathering around food—true of this kitchen with its expansive counterspace, all on the same plane. Seamless cooking and sharing have become a hallmark of the clean space, which makes it a testament to timelessness.

A Warm Welcome

Transform your entry into an artful moment.

We pay attention to thresholds, to spaces of transition. As such, the oft-overlooked entry becomes a site of care and curation in our design program, the place where the serenity of home starts. Every piece placed in this pivotal zone thus becomes an opportunity to communicate calm and communion, welcome and warmth, style and seasonality. Consider these components as you build your beautiful prologue of place.

Statement piece

A one-of-a-kind chest or console lends anchoring character to an entry. This antique piece, aged to perfection and featured at Twenty Two Home, sets a warm, textured foundation for further accessorizing.

Mirror mirror on the wall

Mirrors embody the transitional nature of an entryway, reflecting natural light and expanding the effect of cozy hospitality. We love sourcing vintage mirrors as portals of personality.

Sculptural arrangement

Add an artful element with an oversized vase filled with branches or flowers. For this entry, we placed a Space Vase by Menu—a favorite at Twenty Two Home—accented by budding branches. Tree clippings, seasonal foliage and grasses would achieve a similar effect—just think big and abundant.

Stop and smell

Signal the interior shift with an olfactory mood-setter: an artisan candle in a graceful vessel appeals to both the eye and nose, lending a hint of hygge. We picked Austin Press’s Forager’s Wood for its evocation of earthy magic.

Go native

Building on the floral moment, an objet d’art—like this native Wyoming antler tipped in silver wire—summons place with subtle sophistication.

Beautiful function

Beyond form, an entry must function as a way station between outside and in. To this end, a leather tray serves as a catchall—elegantly so—for keys and such. Along the same line, a prayer rug in lieu of a mat makes for a worldly, rather than ordinary, welcome.

Perfect perch

Ever contending with burly footwear in Wyoming, a chic stool makes wrestling off your boots a breeze. Leave those muddy treads behind and proceed into the calm of home.

Alpine Haven Edition

The design of a room sings when the individual character of the client comes through in the careful composition of elements. Reflecting on high points in her portfolio, Elisa Chambers describes her favorite aspects of specific rooms in our new series, Eye Spy.

For an active family of boys, Elisa opted for pieces that did double duty—beautiful in form yet durably functional—a duality embodied by the design of the living room. Based on the East Coast, the family treasures their time together in the Tetons, which makes the living room the hub of the home. Framed by a picture window facing the mountains, the living space is at once commodious and comfortable, characteristics keenly expressed by Elisa’s three favorite pieces of furniture:

Woven-Back Sofa

“This sofa has two lives; the woven-leather back and cashmere cushions make it so luxurious, while at the same time, it’s so rustic. It can swing both ways. The woven texture is beautiful from all angles, while the cashmere is divine! This sectional is made by Flexform, one of the most elegant yet reasonably priced Italian lines. Flexform puts a lot of thought into their products, focusing on the feel of each piece. Measuring 10ft. long, the sofa allows the family to spread out and relax. This piece anchors the room.”

Coffee Tables

“Also by Flexform, this pair of coffee tables is as functional as it is beautiful. Low to the ground, they can stand alone or be pushed together into one big table. With drawers that pull out on complementary sides, they also offer essential storage: the family stashes games and puzzles in the drawers. As sleek as they are, they also provide an efficient use of space. Again, double duty!”

Cantilever Console

“I adore this piece from Gregorious Pineo, a furniture atelier based in Los Angeles. Its angular, delicate silhouette belies its rugged, strong construction. The rustic metal base perfectly complements the limewash wood slab on top. Yet another example of living two lives. Gracing the side wall, the console is accented by a leather-slung mirror from Baxter and a Holly Hunt glass lamp, making for an elegant yet accessible moment within this high-traffic room.”